History solves nothing

July 26th, 2016

Sure, sure.  Putin loves Trump.

“Worse than Watergate”, in this context, is hilarious.  Reminds me of something I read, with confusion on the part of Mao ZeDong over the scandals of Richard Nixon — “What’s the deal here, exactly?”  The funny thing here is a role reversal — 2008 saw the Republican Convention and McCain taking to the stand and declaring “We are all Georgians” as against a (supposed) isolationist stance of the Democrats wondering “No we aren’t” (and in Oregon the Republican Senate incumbent Gordeon Smith trying to beat Jeff Merkley with an ad making a deal about him eating a hot dog out of touch with current Russian transgressions.)

So, we have have releases of email showing what everyone already knew — the DNC, under the stewardship of Debra Wasserman Schulz, was an operation in league with the presidential ambition of one Hillary Clinton.  Exasperating the tension of the Democratic divide, the streets outside the convention showing an ap photo of  Sanders supporter waving insisting their guy really won.

Bernie Sanders at once tries his best imitation of Goldwater, circa 1960, insisting to his restless supporters to “Grow Up, and Get to Work”.  And then, unlike Goldwater, bolts the party he was only temporarily a member of anyways.  Then again, Sanders knows the actuaries, and knows he’s not about to be the nominee in 2020.

newrepublicsplit  An interesting pile of opines in the latest New Republic, discussing what Hillary versus Bernie represents.  The starter is Rick Perlstein, author of the series of books stretching regarding the Goldwater campaign, Nixon’s America, and Reagan… and all I can say about the article deliberating the meaning of 1924 and what it shows of the perpetual split in the party is… it gets complicated in a hurry.

Start in 1924, when the party cleaved nearly in two. That year, at Madison Square Garden, the Democratic convention took a record 103 ballots and 16 days to resolve a fight between the party’s urban wing and its conservative opponents. How conservative? Well, the convention was nicknamed the “Klanbake,” because one of the great issues at stake was—no kidding—whether the KKK was a good or a bad thing. The divide was so heated that tens of thousands of hooded Klansmen held a rally and burned crosses to try to bully the party into meeting their demands.

Eight years later, under Franklin Roosevelt, the party’s urban, modernist wing established what would become a long hegemony over its reactionary, Southern one. But that hegemony remained sharply contested from the very beginning. In 1937, bipartisan opponents of FDR banded together to forge the “Conservative Manifesto.” Co-authored by a Southern Democrat, the manifesto called for lowering taxes on the wealthy, slashing government spending, and championing private enterprise. Hillary Clinton’s eagerness to please Wall Street can be traced, in part, to that ideological split during the New Deal.

“Urban, modernist” is a funny phrase, and seems to punt on the problem of using “progressive” or “Liberal” to describe what the heck was happening.   Go back even further, and you have a split between the “urbanist” wing of neo-Grover Cleveland and Tammany hacks and the “populist” agraian wing of Bryan.  In 1932, the base of Roosevelt’s support for the nomination grew out of a connection back to the McAdoo forces from that convention, as against Alfred Smith who had in 1928 taken the party in the corporate direction of his campaign chair and the Du Ponts– in a kind of DLCish fit to assuage the party in these times of 1920s prosperity (except with alcohol…)

But then we get to the complication of describing individual actors…

Indeed, over the years, many of the most “liberal” Democrats have remained sharply conservative on economic questions. Eugene McCarthy, the “peacenik” candidate of 1968, ended up backing Ronald Reagan. Dan Rostenkowski, the lunch-pail chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, proposed a tax package in 1981 that was more corporate-friendly than Reagan’s. Jerry Brown of California, long derided as “Governor Moonbeam,” campaigned for president in 1992 on a regressive flat tax. That same year, Bill and Hillary Clinton won the White House with the business-funded support of the Democratic Leadership Council, which sought to downplay the “big government” solutions championed by FDR.

McCarthy was very much busy in a contrarian-ist spiral, Brown has had about 4 political lives and a need to fulfill the “idiosyncratic and eccentric” venture folds in nicely in the 1992 run for president, and Rostenkowski — look into it — bowed in part by the 1980 landslide and the seeming Big Capitalist times, partially showing the lack of differences between the parties in gnabbing at some of same donors.

 If Hillary has any doubts about embracing the economic agenda laid out by Sanders, she should ask the insurgent of 1992: William Jefferson Clinton. The man who ended a dozen years of presidential exile for the Democrats didn’t do it simply by promising to get tough on crime and to “end welfare as we know it.” He also pledged $80 billion in federal investments to improve America’s cities and to create four million new jobs—not to mention, of course, a plan to deliver health care to all Americans.

Interesting contradiction with premises from earlier in the article, but I always content Clinton 1992 can’t really be said to be the party insurgent.  If he was the insurgent — and he was ultimately favored by the big money donors who seemed to make it a point to keep his fund-raisers going  him as Gennifer Flowers scandal hit– who was the establishment pick?

It’s 1964 or 1980 all over again.

July 22nd, 2016

Ted Cruz’s speech and ensuing controversy jumps me back to two moments in political party convention history…

Nelson Rockefeller.  1964.  Here sayseth Patrick Buchanan, a man loyal to the Republican nominee:

At the Cow Palace in San Francisco in July of 1964, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, having been defeated by Barry Goldwater, took the podium to introduce a platform plank denouncing “extremism.”
Implication: Goldwater’s campaign is saturated with extremists.
Purpose: Advertise Rocky’s superior morality.
Smug and self-righteous, Rocky brayed at the curses and insults, “It’s a free country, ladies and gentlemen.”
Rocky was finished. He would never win the nomination.

All right.  And check this one out.

Richard Nixon took another road, endorsed Goldwater, spoke for him in San Francisco, campaigned for him across America. And in 1968, with Goldwater’s backing, Nixon would rout Govs. George Romney and Rockefeller, and win the presidency, twice.

Sure.  But Nixon also stuck his hand out to made sure his wife didn’t stand up or cheer when the Republican nominee, Goldwater, made that “Extremism in Defense of” remark.

And who the hell is supposed to be the Nixon at this Republican convention?

So sayseth everyone:
Mr. Cruz wants to be the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, but the party is likely to regard him now as a reincarnation of Nelson Rockefeller, who threw a similar tantrum against the nomination of Barry Goldwater at the Republican convention in 1964. Mr. Rockefeller paid for it by becoming Jerry Ford’s vice president.

Snide final remark… Of course, with Rockefeller and Goldwater, we had a battle between the liberal and conservative wings of the Republican Party.  I don’t know what you call Cruz versus Trump — the Conservative and Reality TV show wings?

Of course, counter to this is 1952 and the anti-Eisenhower pro-Tafties… but then again, this is an era (at the end of that era) when nominations went beyond one ballot.

And then Ted Kennedy, 1980.

Carter desperately needed a show of unity at the DNC that year to take on popular GOP challenger Ronald Reagan. Kennedy received a prime time speaking role at the convention. But if Carter wanted a warm embrace to unify the party, he didn’t get it. Kennedy’s speech barely mentioned Carter. And the Massachusetts Senator deliberately ducked Carter, who followed him around the stage but failed to get hands raised together. Carter’s reelection chances, and the rest, were history. Carter is still bitter about that snub, blaming Kennedy for his loss.

Reportedly, Reagan — who did his show for party unity at the 1976 (a little more Nixon-esque in terms of its deliberate fudging) was watching and marveling at the display.

We’ll find out later in November whether Cruz did the same damage that Kennedy was able to do 36 years ago.

(Sigh).  Odd statement, as causation and correlation and multiple factors in play.  Hell… Didn’t Carter lose because Reagan stopped the hostages from being freed from Iran?  (Or maybe it was because he, you know, had a term of office where his approval rating tended to be in the 30s)?

Either a good point or a not good point is made that all the Republican presidential candidates not up now supporting Trump — including Jeb Bush who is reportedly flirting with a possible endorsement of the libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, or maybe it’s Johnson’s wishful thinking— signed a pledge, forged out of Trump’s famous “Art of the Deal” thinking to allow some “fair play” so the Republican Party would be hampered to stop his nomination — that everyone would support the eventual nominee.  I think this doesn’t state “enthusiastically”, so maybe the better bet for Ted Cruz in his nominating speech would have been to skip it altogether — the snub would have been as noticeable without violating the clause.

And then this floats into the realm of our election year “Did that happen or didn’t it?“…

But according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.
Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?
“Making America great again” was the casual reply.Ultimately, Trump chose Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, not Kasich, to be his running mate. (Neither Donald Jr. nor Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, replied to multiple requests on Tuesday for comment for this article. After the article was posted, Donald Jr. disputed the Kasich adviser’s account.

It does remind me of some “Capital Hill Blues” stories from the Bush administration, which were always good to gives outlandish stories that stoked your political bias … But, here it’s a “He said / he said”… Though… um… reality is bending in odd directions all around us.

Trump responded to Cruz’s rationale for denying him an endorsement at the convention — specifically that he had said during the primary campaign that Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, had associated with Lee Harvey Oswald before President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
“There was a picture on the front page of the National Enquirer, which does have credibility,” Trump said to a room of volunteers and staffers in Cleveland, adding that the tabloid “should be very respected.”

Yeah, I know.  They broke John Edwards’s affair.  And — ?

musical acts against the Republican standard-bearer

July 20th, 2016

In partial defense of Paul Ryan…

In regards to the great controversy over his fondness for the music of Rage Against the Machine…

Best as I can tell, Paul Ryan did not use their music for a political event (which, unlike some acts, would be incredibly discordant — a Democrat is not going to use the music), so it does not belong on the listings of great Republican uses of music that clashes with the politics of musical acts… even as it seems destined to be stuck in these things

and he threw out the clarifying “politics aside”, meaning he’s, you know, going to listen to the beat and super-impose imagined Ayn Rand love into it…

as is his right…

Meantime, the celebrities stock into the Trump Convention, (Duck Dynasty and all that), and for pop music we’re left with the as now stock Kid Rock comes into focus (and it was a Democrat at a previous convention who complained about Kid Rock’s theatrics — Zell Miller)… I suppose they could bring in Alice Cooper if they want Republican rock stars to appeal to the next generation up…

Though, naturally, you use the sports anthems and…

I see this poster.  Members of Rage Against the Machine and members of Public Enemy and members of various other politically involved bands of yore on a “Make America Rage” tour.  I flash back to 2004, when “Rock Against Bush” was all the thing — the “Get out the Vote” / slash / Musical Gatekeepers to get everyone a’voting for John Kerry as against George Bush or Hillary Clinton as against Donald Trump, even as some politics of some of them veer toward —

— well, Rage Against the Machine was big on Mumia Abu Jamal …

trumpers and anti-trumpers in the streets of Cleveland

July 19th, 2016

Evidently un-fazed by Trump’s pick of some standard conservative Republican (globalist) as vice president,

… as well as the creeping political affects that show through when one wife has to present herself the same way Obama’s wife had to

Alex Jones is joining the congregation of pro-Trumpers to do battle with the anti-Trumpers on the streets of Cleveland, under the banner of…

(ahem) “America First Unity Rally“.  (America First, the anti-interventionist group proceeding World War 2, which came under fire because of… urm?)

Roger Stone is in attendance, tag-teaming with Alex Jones, and apparently serving as the intermediary between Jones and Trump.  The New York Times ran an article comparing Stone with the Clinton’s David Brock (admittedly a party hack, the committed “ex-member of the other side” syndrome) a while ago, which I suppose is where Paul Krugman is getting at with the standard editorial over “false equivalency”.

As it were, Alex Jones’s websites are railing against the Communist anti-Trumpers and the mainstream media smears of Alex Jones… and trumping black Trump supporters…

So, there Alex Jones stands.  On the brink of joining the elite.  Will he still be able to shout at bull-horns at the Bilderberg Conference once Donald Trump takes office and is doing his famous “art of the deal” in sizing up and cutting down their influences ( but, crucially, not eliminating it?)


where’s the other endorsements?

July 14th, 2016

Now that Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton, and I see this damned ad at “Progressive” sites…




as I hear some smattering of Bernie lovers still a’loathing Hillary Clinton…

a question…

Did candidates Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee ever get around to endorsing Hillary Clinton?  (Chafee had, apparently, earlier endorsed Sanders.)

your partisan double standard-ing

July 13th, 2016

Observation number one:  If, say, Clarence Thomas had made the same remarks about, say, Hillary Clinton as Ruth Bader Ginsberg did regarding Donald Trump… what would you, Mr/Ms Democrat / Liberal (and never mind what, precisely, you think of Hillary Clinton) be saying right now?

Yes, I know… Trump is just that unprecedented, as Ginsberg would never say that about — oh– George W or Jeb Bush, but…
Yes, I think Ginsberg should tread not at all into these partisan waters until she retires.

Observation number two:  See the same thing about the relationship between rhetorical excesses and the lone gun killer in Dallas… See, say, the immediate response on Giffords to align it to Sarah Palin, as pondered by Chuck Klosterman’s I Wear the Black Hat.